Girls basketball: Holy Family nails down another Great 8 appearance

  • Jonathan Castner / For the Daily Camera

    Holy Family's Tyler Whitlock, center, battles for a chance at a layup Tuesday night while The Classical Academy's Shenna Daum defends during their Class 4A Sweet 16 playoff game at Holy Family. The No. 2-seeded Tigers won the game, 61-46, to advance to the quarterfinals.

  • Jonathan Castner / For the Daily Camera

    Holy Family's Amanda Ward, left, dribbles past The Classical Academy's Kaitlin Walters during their Class 4A Sweet 16 playoff game at Holy Family on Tuesday night.

  • Jonathan Castner / For the Daily Camera

    Holy Family's Kaitlyn McKenzie goes after a loose ball on Tuesday night.

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BROOMFIELD — Even when playing on their home floor in back-to-back seasons, the Class 4A Sweet 16 has felt like an impenetrable barrier for the Holy Family girls basketball team.

Not anymore.

On Tuesday night at Holy Family, the No. 2-seeded Tigers won 61-46 over No. 15 The Classical Academy in the round of 16. Rolling at the right time — and finally tossing aside the bitter feelings from losing at home in the Sweet 16 in 2017 and 2018 — the Tigers are back in the Great 8 for the first time since they reached the Final 4 in 2015.

“It’s great to finally win that Sweet 16 game,” said Tigers senior Kaitlyn McKenzie, who swung between junior varsity and varsity as a freshman in 2014-15. “The last two years have just been brutal. So to finally get that win at home, it’s huge.”

The Holy Family girls won six 3A titles in seven years from 2008-2014 and have reached at least the Sweet 16 in each of the past five seasons since moving up to 4A. As the No. 2 seed last season, it was a Sweet 16 loss to No. 15 Widefield barred the Tigers from the Great 8.

In exactly the same position — seeding-wise — on Tuesday night, the Tigers (20-5) were deliberate in not underestimating the visiting Titans (18-7).

Senior Amanda Ward hit three of the Tigers’ seven total 3-pointers in the first half and the home team led 26-20 at halftime. Coming out of the locker room, the Tigers opened the second half with a 13-2 run over the first three minutes of the third quarter and outscored the Titans by 10 points in the frame to carry a 46-30 lead into the fourth quarter.

With sophomore Genevieve Gudino (15.0 ppg) scoring 17 of her game-high 23 points in the second half, that lead was hardly threatened as the Tigers cruised into the quarterfinals.

“We prepared really well for this game and we knew they were going to come out hard,” Tigers senior Erin Winters said. “We came out stronger in the second half than they did. We were talking on defense and getting out and running the floor. It was important for us to have better energy than they did.

“I play softball and our softball team won state this year. But before that, we had that stigma of just never breaking through. The big part is breaking the stigma but also, once you do, you have to keep going. If we can keep our energy up over the next few games, I think we’re capable of making a run and taking it to some of the better teams in the state.”

Led by Ron Rossi, who has won over 500 games as a high school basketball head coach, the Holy Family girls have now won 13 straight games and have not lost a game on their home floor in 2019. Following a first-round bye, Holy Family won 61-26 over No. 34 Glenwood Springs in the second round last Friday.

TCA’s Autumn Boyles (16.8 ppg) did her best to keep the Titans within striking distance by scoring a team-high 18 points. The Tigers defense, however, held the Titans well below their scoring average, which was 53.2 points per game before Tuesday.

Holy Family moves on to face No. 7 Greeley Central (24-1) in the Great 8 on Friday. The Wildcats, a one-loss team that dominated the Northern League regular season, won 42-38 against No. 10 Green Mountain on Tuesday night.

“They only have one loss and they won their league easily,” Rossi said. “They have lots and lots of confidence so we’re going to have to come to play.”

Brad Cochi: cochib@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BradCochi

 

Holy Family 61, The Classical Academy 46

At Holy Family H.S.

THE CLASSICAL ACADEMY (18-7)

K. Thompson 0 0-0 0, Ryba 1 0-0 2, Katayama 2 4-4 8, Boyles 7 3-7 18, Daum 0 1-2 1, R. Thompson 0 0-0 0, Roitsch 0 0-0 0, Ivan 1 3-6 5, Rogers 1 0-0 2, Walters 2 2-2 6, Bradford 1 0-0 2, Wormack 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 13-21 46.

HOLY FAMILY (20-5)

McKenzie 1 0-0 2, Gudino 8 5-5 23, Thomas 0 0-0 0, Sanders 0 0-0 0, Wells 1 0-0 3, Gardon 1 1-2 3, Whitlock 4 2-4 11, Ward 3 6-6 15, Winters 0 1-2 1, Aanerud 1 1-2 3, Salter 0 0-0 0, Bertsch 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 16-21 61.

Score by quarters:

The Classical Academy     4 16 10 16  — 46

Holy Family                     9 17 20 15  — 61

3-point field goals — The Classical Academy (1): Boyles; Holy Family (7): Wards 3, Gudino 2, Whitlock, Wells. Total fouls — The Classical Academy 18, Holy Family 17. Fouled out — Boyles.

Holy Family girls in past 12 postseasons

2019   Great 8 (active)

2018   4A Sweet 16

2017   4A Sweet 16

2016   4A Final 4

2015   4A Great 8

2014   3A Champions

2013   3A Champions

2012   3A Sweet 16

2011   3A Champions

2010   3A Champions

2009   3A Champions

2008   3A Champions